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A Moratorium and the Death of Daniel Shaull
It seems that the death of Daniel Shaull has been highjacked by the Animal Rights Movement.
It seems that the death of Daniel Shaull has been highjacked by the Animal Rights Movement.
He has been eulogized, practically canonized and already immortalized by some AR activists, all within hours of his death in front of Ungar Furs in Portland, Oregon. Other AR activists who find it best to distance themselves from Shaull's death state their position just as firmly. In the meantime, both sides are at war on the Internet. Should a moratorium on this discussion be self imposed until all facts are in?
The demise of Daniel Shaull and the fury with which AR activists have leaped to new heights (new lows?) to claim this stranger as their noble martyr, their poster child of all things holy and vegan, is almost surpassed by other ARers who warn against a rush to judgment with the sentiment that there is nothing political about his act of self immolation, that he was a suicidal, mentally ill young man who chose to soak himself in gasoline and light himself ablaze. The fact that he did this in front of the last remaining fur store in Portland seems obvious proof to many who stand on the words of a witness who claims that Shaull screamed, “Animals are dying!” before collapsing. This has been retracted, however as others present at the time now say that his words were intelligible.
There are more contradicting issues. Ungers claims that Shaull was a regular AR protestor outside their store. Shaull's father Warren claims that his son was only in Portland for five days prior to his death. He is unknown to the Portland Animal Defense League, the AR group that coordinates the Fur Free Friday protests outside Ungers.
Little is known about about Daniel other than what his father has to offer. The view he gives is one of a father who is coming to terms with the death of a son whom he already knew had a history of suicidal tendencies. “There is nothing political about this. He was just tired of living.” He also ponders that someone may have put it up to the tragic act.
Even with this, the opposing AR camps continue to tear each other apart across the Internet, safe and snug in cloaks of anonymity. One group rips the other 2nd and 3rd assholes for distancing themselves from Shaull's action. More assholes are torn as the other group protests that this action lies in the category of extremism and that there lies the danger that in embracing Shaull's death as an act of ultimate sacrifice, more AR activists will be labeled as terrorists with more persecution certain to unfold under the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act. I have in fact already heard the word terrorist applied to Daniel Shaull.
“My father dying...”
Perhaps most disturbing are the posts found online that attack and lay blame on Daniel's father, Warren Shaull. On the Portland's Independent Media Collective self publishing site, there is this entry:
So daddy dearest believes that in 5 days someone got ahold of his son, and had more influence than 26 years of togetherness with his own father could do.
I firmly believe that the father is trying to deal with his grief and guilt over his sorry lack of parenting (the son's final words are instructive) by looking for a scapegoat, no matter how ridiculous.
Often I think that the way that kids turn out is independent of parenting, but in this case, the father's actions and words are telling as to how isolated poor Daniel must have felt growing up.”
There is also this written by “mouse:”
“What did Daniel's dad say to him Wednesday morning when Daniel called and asked for a sleeping bag? That was just a few hours before Daniel lit himself on fire. Someone should investigate that. If you knew your son was suicidal when he left town, then why did you let him leave? Why did his family not help him? I think his family and friends should be questioned so we can see the whole picture. They also need to interview Teen Mission and find out why he was directed towards Portland Rescue Mission. Portland Rescue Mission needs to be investigated. THE POLICE need to be investigated. There is just so much left out that we still don't know about. Can somebody in Kansas interview his family and friends? AARRG”
And this by “Vegan Cabal:”
“Redress of greivances
sounds like my Dad's trust in the system and persecution of anything critical of capitalist tradition and the nuclear family normative. From Warren's initial statement that this wasn't a political action we could take the hint that he, like most American fathers, lost time getting to know his son because adherence to the capitalist (dis)order means survival, retirement, "social security".
When the cops give us an obvious reason we must respond. How are po-lice, or parents so detached from a sense of empathy to see suffering and not respond with compassion? Warren would do well to investigate the situation of systemic abuse of animals, his son probably wanted to show him, as I tried for my dad, and he probably shit on the sentiment as a "weak" ideology like mine did.
Love is the way of strength.
That gives him no credibility for me, yet the worthless Feds might intend to pursue those fantasies for appeasement of "his loss". I see the vegan community here lost an unknown ally because dominion aligned predators like that cop and the 75% Christian demographic of America desire business as usual for security, to push the reality of suffering that feeds and clothes them further from awareness.
REALLY, MY FATER DYING WOULD REDUCE THE PARTICIPANTS OF MEAT, LEATHER, DAIRY AND VIVISECTION INDUSTRY BY ONE, AND WARREN SHAULL REMINDS ME OF MY DAD SIGNIFICANTLY [caps mine]. Sometimes extremism gives us in a single action what decades of symbolic actions don't achieve, though all tactics are there for people with different-abledness and willingness.
Our speciesist war rages on and resistance allied with nonhumyns and eARTh is gaining traction. I want to rally to honor the humyn casualties in the struggle and protest disgusting abuse of power of that sadist spraying pepper spray, that is just vile. Where is PDX copwatch on this? Is anyone else feeling like protesting at the precinct and honoring Daniel's action at Ungar?”
With this, one must wonder if this a most inopportune time for AR activists to quickly pledge more unbridled compassion for animals than for humans. Have you ever lost a child or feared the loss of a child due to sudden onset of illness? I have. Have you ever lost a loved one to mental illness, drugs and the street, all three of these? I have. We see the demand that this family be scrutinized with no time to waste, and no time for a family to grasp and grieve. The Shaull family may not have even claimed the body of there son, yet here we have we have a few laying blame, simply because they can.
We know nothing about this family. We don't know if Daniel was raised in a safe, child centered environment. We have no idea how equipped or ill-equipped his family was in dealing with a mentally ill child. Was Daniel violent? To himself or others? We just don't know.
This story, as you guess, does have my interest. I am presently attempting to verify that Daniel was completely apolitical in every sense of the word, despite the statement from his father that Daniel came to Portland because he believed that there is a large vegetarian demographic here. I am also trying to verify that Daniel exacerbated an already precarious mental state by self medicating. Is it possible that, as one has stated, one drug of choice was meth? Certainly a severely mind altering drug in any case. To be clear, I am NOT stating this as fact or in any attempt to gossip or slander. We simply just do not know all of what is quickly appearing to be a polarizing story...
There are poignant posts on all of this to be found on online self publishing sites in the need for some to attach meaning to all of this. Some of what has been written is truly poetic. Some of what has been written is offered in such lofty, idyllic prose that it floats right off the screen while seeming to serve to make the author feel good about themselves rather than anyone or anything else. In all seriousness, maybe this all means that radical activists should bear in mind that each faction shares a common enemy before embarking on serious shit slinging. Maybe it means that a dead body should not still be warm before people who know nothing about the life that was once attached to that body assign meaning. And maybe it means that one should check ego and arrogance and lose the hubris that you think gives you the right to attach any meaning at all.
Words for thought: A little over a decade ago, a U.S. political prisoner was released from prison. A close friend of mine was heavily involved in coordinating support for this PP. As a result, this PP gained a huge following and much hero worship; fund raising dollars rolled into his prison account, celebrations in numerous cities took place upon his release, etc. However, shortly before his release my friend placed a couple of long, late night long distance calls to me. His concern was that this PP might not all be who they had been built up to be. “Marlena,” he said, “what if _________ gets out and it turns out ________ is nothing more than a real asshole?”
Long and short of it, without going in to details; turns out that __________ WAS a real asshole. Turned out that so much meaning that had been attached to __________ had no connection to any sort of reality. So much meaning had been attached to this person by activists who had never met _________, let alone aware of any part of the PP's dark past...
How many of you have lost long trusted friends in the course of the past tow days because of a need to attach meaning? How many have found that they have been devastated by those who you thought you knew? How many of you are in fear at now being uncertain about just who has your back? Can you recognize a need for moratorium in all of this?
Was all of your shit slinging worth it?